During the early days of his Arsenal career there were some difficult times for Savvas Mourgos.
The Greek attacking midfielder arrived at the club from Panionios on scholarship terms after previously progressing through Arsenal’s Elite Academy in his home country.
A delay with his paperwork meant that Mourgos had to be patient to make his Arsenal debut, but, when that moment finally arrived, for the U18s against Southampton last October, things didn’t exactly go to plan, with the youngster struggling to make a significant impact on proceedings.
The following week, as Frans De Kat’s side travelled to face West Ham United, Mourgos was involved from the offset again, but once more he failed to last the whole 90 minutes. It was a chaotic performance from him, with Mourgos squandering possession cheaply, often kicking the ball out of play, missing presentable chances and even clattering into team-mate Harry Donovan on one occasion as the language barrier proved a considerable problem.
The initial signs weren’t very encouraging, but Mourgos continued to train hard and has reaped the benefits of being deployed in his preferred attacking midfield position in recent months. Of late, he has often been one of the very few shining lights in some deeply disappointing team performances at U18 level.
Mourgos’ best qualities have been on display, with the 17-year-old demonstrating his ability to help link play quickly. His dribbling is also of a high standard and well-taken goals in the defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur demonstrated that he is capable of finding the net himself.
Mourgos’ progression this season provides us with a reminder that sometimes we shouldn’t be so quick to judge youngsters, particularly those who require a period of adaptation after arriving from abroad. He will have designs on breaking into the U21 squad next season as he seeks to earn his first professional contract with the club, but for now Mourgos will be delighted with the progress he has made since those arduous early days of the campaign.